Entomology: a missing link for Asia Pacific malaria elimination?

Wednesday Wed, May 2018 Posted by APMEN

Can’t tell your Anopheles dirus from your Aedes aegypti? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

While investment in vector control remains one of the most effective measures for malaria prevention, challenges persist in relation to costs associated with each approach, sustainability, and control of outdoor transmission. Working closely with national malaria control programmes (NMCP) and technical staff across the region, the APMEN Vector Control Working Group (VCWG) reviews current vector control strategies, interventions and their effectiveness in various operational and eco-epidemiological settings, helping to pinpoint unique challenges faced by country programmes. The group also supports the development of country-led strategies and research to address such barriers effectively.

One notable challenge faced by many programmes in the region is the lack of qualified entomologists (that’s insect specialists to you and me) and/or vector control specialists to guide and implement targeted vector control strategies.

With funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Sumitomo Corporation, the VCWG and its network supports and coordinates various trainings and workshops for NMCP staff, providing tailored technical knowledge and skills, particularly for mosquito identification, insecticide resistance monitoring, foci investigations, molecular techniques, and data analysis. Financial support is also used for the development of a customized online database of teaching and learning tools for NMCP staff, relevant stakeholders and partner organizations. Ultimately, this will include sharing and harmonizing of regional vector control best practices, and lessons learned; collating and disseminating regional vector control and entomology research, and relevant data for decision making; facilitating advocacy to governments and distilling WHO guidance on entomology and vector control; and facilitating the provision or exchange of regional technical advice to fill gaps in vector control and entomology, in order to ensure entomologists are more closely engaged in malaria elimination efforts.

The VCWG collaborates closely with both country and international partners, as well as technical networks, in support of malaria elimination activities throughout the region. To find out more about the VCWG, visit the APMEN website here.

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